Toxic Fire at Hazardous Chemical Plant
Oct. 6, 2006. A toxic fire at the EQ Industrial Services hazardous waste storage facility occurred early October 6, 2006 in Apex, NC. The facility reportedly contains many chlorine-containing or chlorinated compounds that are strong oxidizers and are highly combustible upon heating, as well as numerous other hazardous wastes from industrial and home sources. A large cloud of chlorine was released at the site and was reportedly burning. Chlorine is a yellowish greenish gas that causes a choking sensation upon contact. It is highly water soluble and so causes immediate and severe burning in mucous membranes, including the eyes, the mouth and the respiratory track. Coughing and difficulty breathing can rapidly ensue.
Inhalation of chlorine gas has been tied in the literature as one of the prominently reported causes of Reactive Airways Disease Syndrome (RADS), an asthma-like reaction to a single or multiple high level exposures to an irritating substance. This can lead to ongoing, permanent asthma-like symptoms. Sufficient inhalation of the gas can lead to respiratory failure. Hospital officials reported that most of 40-50 individuals sent to the emergency room for treatment were released.
Chlorine gas upon immediate contact with eyes can cause severe irritation or permanent damage to the corneas. Chlorine gas can be damped down by water spray but mixture can also produce hydrochloric acid, which can be highly damaging to the respiratory tract.
The oxidizing potential of chlorine reacts violently with many other metals, reducing agents and combustibles. Many of these compounds are expected to be found at a hazardous waste transfer station.
Clean Air Act (CAA) industrial mercury emissions control: creation of mercury hot spots? Can Hg emission credits be traded like those for gaseous emissions (carbon dioxide)?
Recent research of relationship between autism risk and industrial mercury hot spots raises questions about affect of trading emission credits on creations of Hg hot spots .
The joint EPA-FDA Advisory on mercury and fish consumption: what it says and does not; what it means and does not. Clearing up the confusion [see . Guidelines, fact sheets and frequently asked questions [see Toxicology & the Home].
New research on low level neurotoxic effects of mercury: scientific evidence on both sides of the controversy [see Toxicology of Science].
EPA responds to petitions from States, Environmental Groups and Indian tribes to reconsider changes to the CAA that would allow cap trading of mercury releases. Review events leading up to recent development. Public comments invited (deadline for comments was December 17, 2005).
A directory of each chemical and issue covered on this site can be found on the Hazard Assessment page.